San Francisco is a funny place for many reasons. One of those reasons being the weather. It’s been gorgeous this week, and last night it was even warm into the evening! But soon enough it’ll be summer. Our summer days are chillier than most and end with foggy evenings. On these nights all I want to do is curl up with a warm bowl of comfort food - shepherd’s pie, chicken and dumplings, aaand pasta. Lot’s of pasta. Pasta topped with fennel rosemary marinara to be exact. This sauce feels like a big, warm hug. I love hugs.
I also love making sauces on Sundays. Is “Saucy Sunday” a thing? If not, I’m making it a thing. This is perfect recipe when you have time to let the sauce simmer away for a couple hours on the stove. The prep is simple, so go ahead and get some laundry done or mow the lawn (or let’s be real, put X-Files on Netflix and paint yo’ nails) while the sauce does it’s thing. It’s is my new favorite tomato sauce - the texture and flavor is outstanding! The sweet and tender slices of fennel compliment the acidity and brightness of the San Marzano tomatoes. Fennel season is just about ending, so this is a lovely way bid it adieu.
½ tbs bacon fat*
½ tbs olive oil
½ white onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bulb of fennel, stems removed, sliced thin
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
½ c. red wine
4 tbs butter
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 fresh sprig of rosemary
Melt the bacon fat over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot (I used my Le Creuset!). Once shimmering, add onions and cook until softened - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir around the pan until fragrant. Then add the fennel as well as the sea salt and black pepper. Give it a good stir to incorporate all the ingredients.
Next, pour in the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the canned tomatoes and their juices, smooshing the tomatoes a bit with a wooden spoon. You just wanna break up the tomatoes slightly as they’ll soften as the sauce cooks. Toss in the rosemary sprig and give it one last stir. Turn the heat down to medium low (until the sauce is at a slight simmer) and cook for two hours uncovered.
Serves 4 when served with pasta of your choice.
*you can sub unsalted butter or just use 1 tbs of olive oil total, but you'll need to add another 1/4 tsp of salt if doing so